Our Mentors

Wherein Lies the Spiritual Strength of Metropolitan Anthony of Blessed in Memory?

"He was well-taught by the Grace of the Spirit that the leader of the Church must concern himself not only with the Church entrusted to him by the Spirit, but with the whole Church in the whole world; this he learned from the holy prayers. If need be, says St. Eustacius, to pray for the universal Church from one end of the world to the other, and expecially to have care for Her in Her entirety,if one must, says St Eustacius, to equally tend to all (churches) and have concern for all."

These words of praise of St. John Chrysostom for St. Eustacius of Antioch are entirely applicable to Blessed Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev. He was truly a universal saint, immersing himself in all the questions of church life the world over, carrying within himself all her ailments, bearing virtually their entire weight on his shoulders.

Still a young bishop from Ufim, his soul suffers from the divisions in the Near East and offers Patriarch Joachim means for their removal.

Soon after he turns his attention to south-western Russia, beyond his own Volyn Diocese and in every way seeks to reestablish Orthodoxy in Galizia and Carpathian Russia.

At the same time he concerns himself with the problem of ending a schism, contacting an archbishop of the Old Believers, and at the same time corresponds with representatives of the Anglican faith for clarification the possibility of unifying them to Orthodoxy.

All aspects of church life attract the mental gaze of the bishop, but he approaches them not only with his mind but through his whole being.

Having deep faith in the final victory of Truth, he also profoundly suffers all the misfortunes of the Church.
His personality did not exist outside of the Church and almost reflected the Church in itself.

Every Orthodox person was dear to him, no matter his nationality or origin. To everyone who needed him he was a kind father and wise mentor. To everyone who came to him for spiritual advice he treated as a spiritual relative--organic family relations ceased to exist for him after his taking on monasticism. He felt obligated to help all who turned to him for support and aid as to a neighbor, often giving away the last thing he had, and often experienced need himself for that reason.
This attitude towards others was not artificial or forced. It came from the depth of his existence and had its roots in a deep faith and devotion to God. Loving Christ since childhood and wishing to follow Him from the days of his youth, he succeeded spiritually, achieving a lofty spiritual maturity from an early age. Possessing a great mind and being multitalented by nature, after a splendid general education, he studied the theological sciences with such zeal that he seemed to satiate himself with theology, combining it with an irreproachable moral life and he became a source of spiritual wisdom and virtually issued forth streams of theology, sating his spiritual children with God's grace.

His attitude towards others was always simple, natural, and there was never any artificial sugariness.

Assuming the most important for man was his spiritual progress and the salvation of his soul, he labored towards it even when he was approached with questions on daily life, examining all acts and deeds from the point of view of spiritual gain and tried to lead not only towards advantage in daily life but also for spiritual value.

For this reason he often seemed curt in his attitude towards others, and some who saw him for the first time were baffled by his seeming roughness.

But while approaching him, or rather, while approaching him with one's soul, everyone felt that within Vladyka Anthony lay a fervent fatherly love towards others, which parents sometimes must hide beneath seeming strictness.
Metropolitan Anthony could affect peoples soul especially strongly thanks to the purity of his heart. Having given his heart to God from his youth, he preserved it whole until the end of his life, and while still bound to his body devoted himself to the spiritual world. He himself strove more and more towards the world on high, and he drew everyone he met towards it, invisibly acting upon them with his purity and the loftiness of his spirit.

Gradually separating himself from everything worldly, devoting himself entirely to God and "living in God" (I John 4:3), he became a strong advocate of Faith, and holding each and all in his heart, like a magnet he attracted those who sought salvation, elevating them towards the learning of God's Truth.

Towards the 50th anniversary of episcopal service of the Blessed Metropolitan Anastassy (Gribanovsky)--1956.

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